May 19, 2019

5 Biggest ACC Games of 2017

Five biggest ACC games of 2017.

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5 Biggest Non-Conference Games for ACC Teams in 2017

5 biggest non-conference games for ACC teams in 2017.

Weekly SUR Pick’em – Week 10

Matt continues to lead and has found a niche with the parlay “locks”. Time is running out for the cellar dweller to make a move. Is this the week?

Weekly SUR Pick'em

Vegas Confidential: Dogs on the Loose Edition

Clemson is a 27 point favorite at home vs. Syracuse. Too much? And the road dogs are still running wild.
Vegas Confidential

Weekly SUR Pick’em

Weekly SUR Pick'em

The SUR crew of Matt Wilczewski, Marty Coleman and Chris Cox pick the week’s featured games against the spread and share a million star lead pipe lock. Feel free to get rich…at your own expense.

Nic’s Picks – Week 8

Nic's Picks

Week 7 Record (6-2)
Total Record (39-18)

Projected 2016 ACC Football Standings

Editor’s Note: Nic Mills is a senior PRTM major, student assistant with Clemson Athletic Communication, (formerly known as the Clemson Sports Information Department) and has a long family history of Clemson grads. Nic is also an intern with The Mickey Plyler Show and Out of Bounds on 105.5 The Roar each weekday morning. You can follow Nic on Twitter @mrnicmills.

SUR Podcast Rectangle Orange
It was really tough to choose between Clemson and Florida State and I know the game is in Tallahassee where Clemson hasn’t won since 2006.  However,  as long as Deshaun Watson is Clemson’s quarterback I can’t picture Clemson losing. I’ll be tough, but the Tigers come out with a perfect regular season 2 years in a row.2016 ACC Standings

newaccbrandThe Coastal Division is once again chaos, but a little bit prettier chaos this year. Miami loses to Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech loses to North Carolina and North Carolina loses to Miami.  The result will be a 3 way tie where Miami wins the tie breaker due to having a higher ranking in the polls.

In the end it doesn’t matter as Clemson cruises to a second straight ACC title and berth in the 3rd annual College Football Playoff.

Early 2016 Schedule Thoughts: N.C. State & Florida State

Chris Cox, Matt Wilczewski and Marty Coleman give early thoughts and predictions on the Tigers 2016 schedule two games at a time.

North Carolina State

MC: I’m not a believer in N.C. State.  Every year we talk about the 4-0 or 5-0 Wolfpack then they play somebody and lose.  They typically play no one of any note non-conference (2015 – Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama) and then are shocked when they lose in conference (0-8, 3-5, 3-5).  Fifteen starters return, but none of them are name Jacoby Brissett.  They couldn’t beat Clemson in Raleigh with a good quarterback and the odds of the Wolfpack doing it in Clemson this year are close to 0.

Clemson by 27

MW: After finishing 7-6, the Wolfpack look to find a new offensive identity with a new coordinator and the end of the Jacoby Brissett era. Clemson was provided a scare last year in Raleigh, having to hold off the ‘Pack in shootout fashion. Much of that, in my opinion, caused from the Tigers’ confidence being too high off the 58 point drubbing in Miami Beach the prior week.  With 8 starters returning on offense and 7 on defense, NC State should be looking to make a step forward in 2016. But with current questions at quarterback, they can’t be coNorth_Carolina_State_University_Athletic_logo.svgnsidered a major threat to pull out a win in Death Valley.

Clemson by 21

CC: Gone is 2-year starter Jacoby “Brisket” and replacing him will likely fall between sophomore Jalan McClendon or freshman Jakobi Meyers. McClendon is built in a similar mold of Brissett, while Meyers is the dual-threat option. The Wolfpack do return key playmakers Matthew Dayes, Jaylen Samuels, & Jumichael Ramos, which will be a nice luxury for new offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz. Nonetheless, Clemson has won 11 of 12 in the Textile Bowl and haven’t lost inside Death Valley since 2002. Expect that trend to continue.

 Clemson by 21

@ Florida State

CC: This will be a colossal matchup and will, as it has for the past seven years, decide the ACC Atlantic Champion. FSU will also be looking for some stability at quarterback. I expect RS freshman Deandre Francois and early enrollee Malik Henry to bypass JJ Consentino and push senior Sean Maguire for the starting spot. Whoever ends up under center will have Dalvin Cook, a Heisman candidate, to make life a little easier. Cook lit the Clemson defense up for 194 yards a year ago, and he wasn’t 100% healthy. On the other side of the ball, FSU loses All-American corner Jalen Ramsey but returns both star defensive ends and freshman All-American safety Derwin James. Your guess is as good as mine as to who wins this game, but I’m going to roll with the team that has the advantage at quarterback.

Clemson by 3

MW: The one we’ve all been waiting for. The Division Championship. The biggest test standing between the Clemson Tigers and another shot at the College Football Playoff. Always a daunting task to go into Doak Campbell and find a win, and this will be no different. The ‘Noles return 6 starters on defense and 10 on offense, including Dalvin Cook, who I believe was the best RB in the nation in 2015. He’s that special. Defensively, the losses of DT Nile Lawrence-Sample, MLB Reggie Northrup, and CB Jalen Ramsey are significant but certainly not impoFlorida_State_Seminoles_Alternate_Logossible to overcome. Sophomores DE Josh Sweat and SS Derwin James are stars in the making and names to know in Tallahassee, where there is not a shortage of talent. With the Seminoles seeking revenge on their home field, I do perceive this matchup as a total coin flip. And when there are coin flips, I always go back to the most important position on the field. Sean Maguire has shown flashes at times, but also has very pedestrian days. With him out for the spring, RS Frosh Deondre Francois and Freshman Malik Henry have an opportunity to make a move towards to starting spot. Both quarterbacks highly touted and with the potential to be great. But here in the spring, there are questions at the position for FSU, whereas Clemson has the best in the nation. That is the ultimately the difference maker.

Clemson by 1

MC: The best team usually wins and I think Clemson is the better team.  After an early TD by superstar Dalvin Cook the Clemson D held the Seminoles in check and the Tigers rolled up 500+ yards of offense, and few points, against a vaunted Seminole defense.  The Tiger defensive line ruled the day last fall and it will be difficult to repeat that success.  I agree with Matt – coin flip.  Coin flips in Tallahassee worry me a little more with 11 returning offensive starters on the Seminoles side.  On the other hand, Florida State’s best player is going to touch the ball about 25 times.  Clemson’s will touch it on every offensive play and Deshaun Watson could take this game over.  If Watson can make the Alabama defense look like Pelham Junior High, then he can certainly do that against the Noles.  I admit to wavering a bit on this one as FSU is no slouch and the game is at Doak-Campbell Stadium.  In the end, I can’t bet against Deshaun Watson.

Clemson by 2

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Metrics Favor Tigers & Schedule from Toughest to Easiest

If you are a believer in football analytics to any degree, then you’re probably familiar with Bill Connelly of SB Nation.  

Connelly does the type of analysis that guys like me wish they had the time and smarts to accomplish, digging into the minutiae of all 128 college football teams.

Of interest this week is his preliminary S&P+ College Football Team Ratings, where Clemson sits at #3.  This rating is comprised of 3 components (in order of weight): Returning production, recruiting, and recent history.

Connelly ranks Clemson as tops in the nation for returning production (easy to see why), but notes that LSU has the most returning production, but because Alabama and Clemson were better (the returnees had more impact on the S&P+ ratings) in 2015, Clemson ends up being ranked first, with Alabama second and LSU third in returning production.

Breaking down the returning production into units, Connelly assigns 90% to the offense and 50% to the Clemson defense, averaging out to 70%.

Without digging into the details too much, just note that the Tigers are the top ranked ACC team in Connelly’s early rankings, just ahead of 5th ranked Florida State.  The Tigers also easily out rank their two non-conference SEC foes (Auburn is 24 and South Carolina is 63rd).

Finally, scrolling down on Connelly’s post you will see that he spends some time discussing the improvement of the ACC, which his rankings project as the second best conference in 2016.

Here’s a look at the 2016 schedule in game order with the S&P+ Rankings.

Sched Date Order

And here’s the schedule in order of S&P Ranking as they stand today:

Sched S&P+ Order

Important to note that these are “preliminary” rankings and things can, and will, change before the season begins.  After all, going in to 2015 Clemson had a solid left tackle in Isaiah Battle and a steady place kicker and kick off man in Amon Lakip on the roster.

Early 2016 Win Probabilities for Every Clemson Game

The probabilities below are based on an algorithm developed over the last 5 college football seasons and 3,580 games.

The algorithm takes into account the typical metrics associated with football, plus some that are lesser recognized but correlate highly to determining winners and losers of college football games.

It’s important to understand that giving a probability is different than predicting a winner/loser.  Specifically, the probability below estimates the metrics that will result in a game and then compares those results to the results of the 3,580 games and gives a probability of Clemson winning the game assuming the actual metrics meet the expected metrics.

For example, for the Auburn game teams with Clemson’s expected metrics won 59.6% of the time over those 3,580 games.

Past performance does not necessarily predict future performance.

Early 2016 WP Clemson

The algorithm results for the 2015 season were encouraging. Teams that were given a 70.0% or higher probability of winning won 86.2% of the time over the season, including 22-0 when a team was given a 90% or higher probability of winning.

The Tigers have 5 games in the 50-60% range, which could be considered the most dangerous level (relative to all probabilities over 50%).  Over 130 games in 2015, teams in this range won 56.2% of the time.

The algorithm may be tweaked prior to the 2016 season resulting in a different win probability for the Auburn game and the win probability for all other games will change based on results of 2016 games as the season progresses.